Maintaining a brand identity is no easy feat. The biggest brands have had years to strengthen and build up how they present themselves. These brands have the reputation to change whenever they need to go in a new direction. Branding impacts nearly every facet of how you do business, such as how your business looks, how it communicates, and how it markets. That’s why it’s integral to build a brand that customers can easily connect with, and also why you should maintain a strong brand personality throughout all of your online activities.
Since email is one of the more direct ways you can reach customers online, it’s also a great opportunity to showcase your brand’s unique personality. Here are four tips to keep in mind when it comes to branding your email designs.
Know Your Values
Understanding your brand’s values lays the groundwork for your marketing campaigns. It’ll be easier from a marketing standpoint to think of associated visuals and copy if you know how you want to present your brand. On the customer side, they’ll be more open to a brand if they perceive similar values, especially for millennials—75% of whom feel it’s important that a brand gives back to society. Even businesses working in the same industry and selling similar products can convey a totally different message if they decide to emphasize different values.
Take a look at your mission and vision, market research, and any other guidelines you have and answer these questions:
- How did your brand originally come about?
- What do your products and services aim to solve?
- What qualities do you want your brand to have?
- What kind of people make up its audience?
- What parts of their lives is your brand interested in?
- How are you involved in your customers’ daily lives?
- What is your customers’ preferred approach?
With the answers to these questions, create an organized document or brief that contains all the information you’ve collected so far. Then, you can isolate keywords and phrases that can inform your email designs regardless of your campaign.
Keep a Branding Guide
Perhaps the most recognizable part of branding is the visuals. Humans place great importance on visuals, and prominent visual content equals increased engagement. 69% of marketers view visuals as an absolute necessity for strategies, and the most successful visuals aren’t there by chance. Marketers who describe their email programs as successful are 27% more likely to have branding guidelines behind their email campaigns.
Here’s what you should include in a set of complete visual branding guidelines:
- Introduction to your brand – This includes mission, vision, and brand history
- Logo – All approved sizes down to the dimensions and ratios, whether or not it requires a certain amount of white space around it, the proper color variations, and where to place it
- Color palette – What you want your brand to be associated with, including logo colors and the specific print (CMYK) and digital (RGB, HEX) codes for them
- Typography – All the fonts you use for official collateral
- Imagery – Describe the type of images your brand seeks to associate with its values
Source: Nike Football
Decide on Tone and Voice
If your visuals convey a particular message, then your word choice needs to as well. Write your copy thoughtfully, no matter how short. Go back to your values and your visuals—identify the common emotions you want them to portray, and decide on your word choice based on that.
A dark and gritty aesthetic won’t fit with a cheerful vibe. Likewise, take audience demographics into account. Adults interested in home and lifestyle content, for example, could use a relaxed vibe and word choice related to building, construction, good loving, and homemaking.
Source: Campaign Monitor
Stay Consistent Across Channels
While email is one of the most effective ways to market to audiences, it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Your email marketing efforts are most likely aimed at gaining conversions on your official website. Additionally, social media content may be used both alongside and within email campaigns.
Remember to stick to your visual and tone branding guidelines across all channels, not just email. Building a consistent brand can start by simply using the same banners on your website, social media headers, and email layouts, only optimized at different sizes. Another option is to place the same version of your logo in the same spot on all collateral. The point is to aim for a unified appearance through a more integrated approach. That increases trust, perceived authority, and awareness of your brand.
Today’s consumers will notice if activities are disconnected from one another—so consistent brand presentation across all platforms you work on (including physical stores and offices) can increase revenue by up to 23%.
A good omnichannel experience means all elements we’ve listed in the previous points—values, visuals, and tone—convey the same meaning no matter where a user engages with your brand. Keep at it, and don’t veer off course—you’ll be rewarded with customers who stay loyal because they know your brand inside and out.
Author Bio: Ash Salleh is the Director of SEO at Campaign Monitor, where he works closely with content, copy, and analytics teams to improve site-wide optimization. Previously he also provided SEO and digital marketing expertise at Zappos and Axiata Digital.